Wednesday, 30 May 2007

* New Blog - AUCTIONEER.

Apart from green activism, the other passion of my life is auctioneering, so I have set up a blog -AUCTIONEER - on the subject.

The blog will try to report and comment, with a light touch, on auctions and events around the world.

The first news report is on the sale of ‘Allo ‘Allo’s portrait of ‘The Fallen Madonna with the big boobies’

Please pass on the address to anyone who might be interested.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

*Violence at Gay protest in Moscow confirms human rights 'not respected in Russia'

Veteran human rights campaigner and Green Party spokesperson Peter Tatchell was amongst those beaten by gangs of neo-Nazis, nationalist extremists and Russian Orthodox fundamentalists, with the apparent collusion of sections of the Moscow police and the Russian OMON riot squad.
Peter Tatchell had traveled to Moscow at the request of the Moscow Gay Pride organizers to support the event and the campaign for gay rights in Russia. He was the keynote speaker at the opening session of the Moscow Gay Pride conference on Saturday morning, 26 May 2007 at the Swissotel.
See the Green Party statement on:

Monday, 28 May 2007


Leaf London's trees alone

Up to 2,000 London street trees have been given the chop in the past
five years, condemned by usually unwarranted subsidence claims, a London Assembly report has revealed.

In some boroughs up to 40 per cent of trees removed have been due to
insurance claims. Yet the Assembly's Environment Committee heard that barely one per cent of these claims were probably justified.

A survey showed that, over the past five years, 40 per cent of the 325 trees removed in Hackney, 16 per cent of 1,500 trees in Brent and ten per cent of the 600 trees in Camden have been removed because of subsidence claims.

In total London has lost around 40,000 street trees with 48,000 planted over the last five years. However London has suffered an overall loss of broadleaf trees and many of the new trees that have been planted are smaller, ornamental varieties. Ornamental varieties do not have the same environmental benefits as broad leaf trees, which play a vital role in protecting the capital from the effects of global warming.

The Assembly Environment Committee report, A Chainsaw Massacre, also
highlights an urgent need for action from local authorities,landlords,developers and residents to increase the number of street trees as part of the battle against climate change.

Darren Johnson Green Party Assembly Member, Chair of the Assembly Environment Committee said:
"This report calls for direct level action to help London adapt to the effects of climate change and help maintain its status as one of the greenest cities on the planet.

"London's treescape is changing. Our investigation has found a net gain of over 8,000 trees planted across the capital in the past five years. But we need to plant, maintain and protect more broadleaf trees which provide the real benefits for future generations."

The report identifies further measures to maintain and protect the
capital's trees,including:

* Insurance companies must provide better quality investigations
with nationally recognised guidance to avoid pointless subsidence claims
* Developers should include broadleaf tree planting and
maintenance in the design and planning of new developments
* Borough street tree data must be maintained and updated to allow
for effective monitoring of London's treescape
* Best practice on community engagement,funding,planting,
maintenance and protection of street trees
should be drawn together into a 'London tree survival guide'

The Committee called for London boroughs to explore funding and
sponsorship from private developers through planning agreements to meet the cost of maintaining trees.

Darren Johnson said: "Our recommendations put forward sensible and
practical measures to safeguard the treasures of our streets. We all
have a role to play in ensuring London trees continue to flourish."

*ARE YOU AN ANIMAL RIGHTS EXTREMIST? Don’t be too sure – check here.

About to dig into your millionth pot of humus? Just finished off a veggie sarnie? Signed a petition? Then just maybe you’re an animal rights extremist...

The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) are responsible for dealing with "Domestic extremism" and have a particular interest in those campaigning against animal experimentation.

Now they've come up with a simple test for extremism based on checking your preference for dairy products, support for Carla Lane and history of petition writing.

Find out if you're an animal rights extremist at
If you are, then you can also download
your own injunction at

Sunday, 27 May 2007

*PETER TATCHELL assaulted and arrested in Moscow.

Gay rights campaigner, and London Green Party member, Peter Tatchell has been assaulted by a blackshirt thug in Moscow. Peter was helping to deliver a petition to the Mayor of Moscow. The Russian police arrested Peter but not his assailant!

Several MEP and MPs were also assaulted. In all cases the police did not arrest to perpetuators!! See the BBC report here.

Peter is a really brave man!!

Saturday, 26 May 2007


(See the full article at

Something earth-changing is afoot among civil society -- a significant social movement is eluding the radar of mainstream culture. I kept coming back to one question: did anyone know how many groups there were? At first, this was a matter of curiosity, but it slowly grew into a hunch that something larger was afoot, a significant social movement that was eluding the radar of mainstream culture.

Extrapolating from the records being accessed, I realized that the initial estimate of a hundred thousand organizations was off by at least a factor of ten. I now believe there are over one million organizations working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. Maybe two.

By conventional definition, this is not a movement. Movements have leaders and ideologies. You join movements, study tracts, and identify yourself with a group. You read the biography of the founder(s) or listen to them perorate on tape or in person. Movements have followers, but this movement doesn't work that way. It is dispersed,inchoate, and fiercely independent. There is no manifesto or doctrine,no authority to check with.

Historically, social movements have arisen primarily because of injustice, inequalities, and corruption. Those woes remain legion, but a new condition exists that has no precedent: the planet has a life-threatening disease that is marked by massive ecological degradation and rapid climate change. It crossed my mind that perhaps I was seeing something organic, if not biologic. Rather than a movement in the conventional sense, is it a collective response to threat? Is it splintered for reasons that are innate to its purpose? Or is it simply disorganized? More questions followed. How does it function? How fast is it growing? How is it connected? Why is it largely ignored?

After spending years researching this phenomenon, including creating with my colleagues a global database of these organizations, I have come to these conclusions: this is the largest social movement in allof history, no one knows its scope, and how it functions is more mysterious than what meets the eye. What does meet the eye is compelling: tens of millions of ordinary and not-so-ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.

The movement grows and spreads in every city and country. Virtually every tribe, culture,language, and religion is part of it, from Mongolians to Uzbeks to Tamils. It is comprised of families in India, students in Australia, farmers in France, the landless in Brazil, the bananeras of Honduras, the "poors" of Durban, villagers in Irian Jaya, indigenous tribes ofBolivia, and housewives in Japan. Its leaders are farmers, zoologists, shoemakers, and poets.

The movement has three basic roots: the environmental and social justice movements, and indigenous cultures' resistance to globalization -- all of which are intertwining. It arises spontaneously from different economic sectors, cultures, regions, and cohorts, resulting in a global, classless, diverse, and embedded movement, spreading worldwide without exception.

In a world grown too complex for constrictive ideologies, the very word movement may be too small, for it is the largest coming together of citizens in history. This is the first time in history that a large social movement is not bound together by an "ism." What binds it together is ideas, not ideologies.

This unnamed movement's big contribution is the absence of one big idea; in its stead it offers thousands of practical and useful ideas. In place of isms are processes, concerns, and compassion. The movement demonstrates a pliable, resonant, and generous side of humanity.This movement is relentless and unafraid. It cannot be mollified, pacified, or suppressed. There can be no Berlin Wall moment, no treaty-signing, no morning to awaken when the superpowers agree to stand down. The movement will continue to take myriad forms. It will not rest. There will be no Marx, Alexander, or Kennedy. No book can explain it, no person can represent it, no words can encompass it, because the movement is the breathing, sentient testament of the living world. And I believe it will prevail. I don't mean defeat, conquer, or cause harm to someone else. And I don't tender the claim in an oracular sense. I mean the thinking that informs the movement's goal -- to create a just society conducive to life on Earth -- will reign.

It will soon suffuse and permeate most institutions. But before then, it will change a sufficient number of people so as to begin the reversal of centuries of frenzied self-destruction.

Friday, 25 May 2007

* Critical Error.

The Critical Mass bike ride is again in danger of police attack. See the Comment is Free on the Guardian where Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member writes about CC

Please go there and give Jenny some support, or better still, get on you bike and join the event tonight. I wonder does that make me an 'organiser' in the eyes of the Law? Many fellow Irish have been jailed for less!


Following an investigation by Greenpeace International and the GM-free Ireland Network, Ireland's Dept of Agriculture admitted that it failed to test a 12,313-tonne shipment of contaminated animal feed from the USA before it was unloaded from a ship in Dublin on 2 April and placed on the market.

As a result of this fiasco, up to 5,313 tonnes of feed contaminated by illegal and toxic GM maize varieties have entered the food chain, causing potential liver and kidney damage to consumers. The ship's captain told Greenpeace the cargo was "certified GM-free by the US authorities", and gave the Greenpeace team permission to come aboard and take samples of the cargo. Greenpeace then sent these samples to an accredited laboratory for scientific analysis. The lab results confirmed that the supposedly "GM-free" cargo tested positive for up to 33% contamination with the toxic MON863. But the lab test also proved the cargo contained 2.4% contamination by an illegal variety of GM maize - Herculex Rw - patented by Pioneer / Dow, which is not authorised in the EU.

Subsequent test results showed the cargo was also contaminated by five other legal GM maize varieties, all above the mandatory labelling threshold of .09%.

* 'Wake Up'

Rob Gordon has recorded a song called 'Wake Up' about our environmental degradation and how we can change it. This song can be found at

The entire song is streamed so you can hear it on the website. He wrote this song in response to the most important issue that faces all of us and all of our offsprings. Music can cut across all cultural lines. A song can reach the people and the people, together, can reach the governments and the corporations.
Have a listen. it has some very good lines.


Hat off, next, to the SNP's Stewart Stevenson, the new minister for climate change in Scotland, who lists his leisure interests on the SNP website as (and we quote) "photography, reading and writing, and private flying".

Quite how the dear boy will reconcile a passion for private flying with his new environmental responsibilities in the SNP-Green agreement is, of course, anyone's guess. We can but wish him the best of British.

(From John Henley’s Diary in yesterday’s Guardian)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

* No money for Metropolitan Police charm offensive.

Criminals trading in endangered species and wild animals will find London an easier place to do business when the Metropolitan Police cut by half the number of staff working in the London's Wildlife Crime Unit, due to a lack of sponsorship money.

Jenny Jones, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, has condemned the cutback in the work of Operation Charm and has asked the Mayor to intervene.

The cut will save £80,000 out of a vast annual budget of £2.5bn. Interpol estimates that the illegal trade in animals is worth over five billion dollars and is second only to drug dealing.

Jenny said:" This is bad news for wildlife and for London's reputation as a capital city. We might consider ourselves a nation of animal lovers, but London is also the capital of the global trade in illegal wildlife products. The trade does us and the world's environment no end of harm. The wildlife unit does a valuable job and is very popular with Londoners. In fact it is too small to do all the work needed - we need more wildlife police, not fewer."

This is the first year in which the Wildlife Crime Unit has been asked to raise 50% of its costs from sponsorship. Failure to raise sufficient money will lead to the Met cutting the two civilian posts in the Unit in order to make a budget saving of £80,000. This will take effect from the 1st October.

Further information about the work of the Wildlife Crime Unit can be found at

Monday, 21 May 2007


The cost of drugs has been rising at about 7% every year compared with the rest of the costs of the NHS at about 3%. Big pharma has the NHS over a barrel and uses every trick in the book to get its products purchased(influencing patient groups, doctors and the media being the main ones).

Headlines such as 'NHS refuses to treat alzheimers patients'
are a clear example - perhaps it is because the new drug is unproven, unreliable, ineffective , and therefore pointless - so why waste money on it?

They also like to revise drugs to make them more powerful and less toxic and they end up with things like Vioxx...

Big pharma have been running away with this and there are no easy solutions (see current Green Party policy for those that could work!!!).

For greedy corporate capitalists it must be heaven to work in a sector with a guarenteed 7% year on year increase.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

* Plastic ain’t fantastic say Greens as their cotton carriers hit the streets

A new range of colourful cotton shopping bags is due to be launched exclusively in Lewisham shops. The scheme, proposed by Green Party councillors and taken up by the council, has the double aim of promoting local shops and reducing waste.

More than 10,000 will soon be in use around the borough, and each colourful carrier is emblazoned with the name of a local town centre and the slogan ' Shop Local ' .

Following hot on the heels of the recent frenzy by fashionistas to get their hands on Anya Hindmarch's highly sought after designer bag

and the announcement that Modbury in Devon has just become the first plastic bag free town in Europe

Lewisham town centres are now to get their own ' ethical bags '

Ladywell councillor Sue Luxton commented:

"This is a win-win deal for shoppers, businesses and the environment. Buying and using these bags will not only cut the number of plastic bags thrown away, but also shows support for local shops.

"The first batch has just arrived and will be hitting shops soon. The next batch, funded by a Green Party budget amendment, will be Fairtrade and organic, so they are the all-round ethical choice for shoppers. "

Shops will sell the bags to customers at only £2 each, and revenue from the scheme can be used by town centre managers to promote local centres and parades.

Brockley councillor Romayne Phoenix added:

"We all know plastic ' s not fantastic - plastic bags are made from a finite resource - oil - they don' t compost, they endanger wildlife when they end up as litter in rivers and parks and they are simply not as practical or comfortable to carry as reusable cotton bags.

"Ultimately we need a national plastic bag tax, as Ireland has, but from June Lewisham ' s concerned shoppers can take individual action to do their bit for the planet by using these cotton carriers. "

She added:

"These could soon be the must-have accessory for all shoppers in Lewisham. Buy now while stocks last! "

. Green Party councillors first proposed the scheme last year during the 2007/08 council budget process. Officers liked the idea so much that they used economic development funds left over from 2006/07 to begin the scheme immediately. The Greens' budget proposal to spend further money on Fairtrade, organic bags for town centres not covered by the first tranche was then approved by the council, paying for the second batch, which will arrive later in 2007.

More details and photo available on Sue’s blog:

Friday, 18 May 2007


GM-supporting Cardinal Renato Martino has organised a Vatican meeting on climate change in the style of his Vatican conferences on GM. The big difference, though, was that at the GM events, critics of GM and the biotech industry found it hard to get their voices heard, whereas at the climate change event, climate sceptics were out in force and Martino gave them preferential treatment.

Martino used the concluding speech of the conference to launch an attack on "current forms of idolatry of nature", arguing that man's immortal soul meant he "cannot be equal to other living beings, nor considered a disturbing element to the naturalistic ecological balance."

Martino also tried to spin global warming as positive. "Not all the scientific world is crying disaster," Martino told Vatican Radio at the start of the two-day conference.

Martino made his name as a commentator on climate change by claiming on British TV that it didn't matter how many air miles he clocked up as they weren't the Vatican's planes!!

*Driver causes serious accident while using mobile phone.

An 11 year old schoolboy was struck by a car as he crossed the road from his school, in Brent, yesterday, sustaining a broken arm, leg & life-threatening head injuries.
Reports state that the driver was speaking on her mobile phone when the accident happened. EVEN MORE AMAZING IS THAT REPORTS ALSO STATE THAT THE DRIVER CARRIED ON TALKING AFTER THE ACCIDENT!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

*PLASTIC BAGS: Ban in Italy. Taxed in Belgium

Italy: ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags

Like France, Italy has passed a law providing for non-biodegradable plastic bags to be banned from 2010. European reports that a draft Decree to implement this measure is expected to be notified to the European Commission before the summer. The 2007 Finance Act also includes provision for a tax on plastic carrier bags and a EUR 0.01 tax on plastic bottles for mineral or table water. The revenue from this tax will be used to finance projects aimed at providing universal access to water. (Source: Resource Recovery Forum)

The Belgian government tried to introduce a carbon-based tax on all packaging materials this year but backed down in March in the face of strong opposition from a coalition of environmentalists, industry and consumers.
Instead of a tax on all packaging materials, the government has decided to tax selected types of packaging, as follows: Plastic bags (carrier bags) EUR 3 per kg, Plastic films EUR 2.70 per kg, Aluminium foil EUR 4.50 per kg, Disposable cutlery EUR 3.60 per kg. The taxes on these selected items are scheduled to take effect on 1 July 2007.


Wednesday, 16 May 2007

*Cherie Blair in the Green Room?

Well, no! However, her suit is one of the items that have just arrived here for sale.

The suit is a beautiful linen long jacket and knee length skirt, size 12. Made by designer, Ronhit Zilkha. Yellow with elegant checks. Superb Condition - as you would expect.
Complete with AUTHENTICATION CERTIFICATE and autograph.

We do not normally stock clothes in the Green Room, but this is an exceptional lot. It will go well with another piece in stock: A designer suit by John McKitterick of ‘Red or Dead’ and last worn by Ronan Keating of Boyz Zone on one of their videos.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


Inspired by Brian Orr (14 May 2007)

Quite a lot of carrot and a measured hint of stick

Helps to save the planet if we make it bloody quick

Lots of green ideas around, for folk to take their pick

Creative inspiration, European tips to nick.

And when those Climate gurus leave you feeling pretty thick

And your image maybe earthy, but you'd like it to be slick

And all that rival greenwash starts to make you feel quite sick

And your bath-time reverie consists of 'Who's the biggest -ick?'

Keep on composting and cycling, despite mates that take the mick

Hang onto your Green vision and the spark that makes you tick

On our organic firm foundation, build green values brick by brick

And keep alert, Green Party members, lest we should ever miss a trick.

Becca Thackray Green Party cllr in Lambeth

Sunday, 13 May 2007

*Where have all the insects gone?

This is from Brian Orr:

Today I came across a rather deformed lady-bird; I presume the result of a fairly unsuccessful metamorphosis from it's chrysalis state.

Might this have any connection with my observations that the levels of insect populations have plummeted over the last few years - and I would estimate - are at about 1% of levels of 10 years ago?

Probably not in the overall scheme of things; but then again maybe?

Why are my garden tits still feeding on my fat-feeder here in May?Why are there hardly any swallows over London here in May?When did anyone see the massive swarms of flying ants that used to bedevil London's summers?Come to that, when did anyone see massive swarms of anything?Why are there hardly any spiders around - and bees - and wasps - and butterflies - and moths - and earwigs - and etc?

Why does nobody notice these things?

A colleague said that for the first time that he can remember his wall-flowers very nearly failed to set seeds last year - after decades of being 100% reliable.My garden has no ground-beetles of any kind; no cuckoo-spit or frog- hoppers; no crab spiders; no house-men, no crane-flies, no wolf- spiders, very few 'ground' spiders; few orb-web spiders; few jumping spiders; hardly any garden ants; no lace-wings; few flies of any kind; hardly any bees, either honey or bumble; very few centipedes; no wood-lice.

Lets not for the present waste any time on conjecturing what may be the reason behind my observations (particularly the hypothesis that I've lost it!) Could we, that is, those who are at least a little intrigued/worried by my observations, begin to establish the crudest of 'data-bases' by establishing those of us who also have noticed that things seem to be going all awry? I guess to make the 'data-base' at all representative, I should invite all those who are not completely oblivious to the natural world in London to let me know if they see hardly any echo of what I'm on about, otherwise my 'data-base' will be easily faulted by just being the observations of those who 'see things my way', at least to a degree.

So, please let me know if my observations reported above strike a chord with you - or not, as the case may be.

Best regards,
Brian Orr

PS I've noticed much the same sort of phenomenon on my summer holidays in semi-rural Southern France

Saturday, 12 May 2007


How many double-decker buses would be filled by the CO2 produced by London's households?

London's domestic emissions would fill over 140 million double-decker buses, which if parked end to end would stretch around the world 35 times.

Or in more realistic terms, this is more than the total carbon emissions produced by Costa Rica, Nepal, Iceland, Albania and Uganda put together.

Urgent action to improve the energy efficiency of London's housing stock will be key to meeting London's target of a 60% reduction in CO2 (i.e. 15 million hot air balloons) by 2025.
(From a letter by Jenny Jones AM to the Times)

'Carbon Positive' Home

From the USA:
The designers at housebuilders Baufritz have apparently come up with a ‘carbon positive’ home. Yep, that’s a house, which will store more CO2 than it emits during its lifetime. It will also be 100% biodegradable, which is an interesting concept in itself.

Friday, 11 May 2007


For an update on this story see dated yesterday afternoon.

"KFC licked by pub in menu fight.
An American fast food giant has backed down in a row with a North Yorkshire country inn amid claims the pub is using one of its trademark phrases."

However, they still maintain that they own the phrase 'family feast'

*Steps In The Fall Of The Dinosaur Era

From the UP! blog:
*Steps In The Fall Of The Dinosaur Era *

In 1950, Earth was embroiled in the Cold War after having suffered through two world wars in a single generation. Yet, surprisingly, 0% thought we needed to drastically change our way of life. It wasn't until the stress-torn year of 1968 that 1% finally started imagining a different type of world.
By 1970, that number increased to 5%.
It took another 20 years before it got as high as 10% in 1990, right before the first Gulf War.
10 years later, as George W. Bush was elected US President, that number rose to 14%.
By 2004, the willingness to change in order to save the planet rose to 25%.
One year later, it quickly rose to 30%.
It only took another year to reach 40%.
And at the beginning of 2007 it finally hit _50%_.
By April 1st, it was at 53% and it's 55% today.
Throughout the rest of this year we should see an unprecedented increase in the dissatisfaction of human beings in the way man has mismanaged the Earth, its resources and our human relationships.

This rate of increase has never before been experienced in the history of the planet._
Bryan James.UP!

Thursday, 10 May 2007


I hate bullies particularly big business bullies. The following story really takes the biscuit!

Britain's highest pub is being sued by fast food giant KFC over its traditional "Family Feast" on Christmas Day. KFC claims punters could confuse the annual meal at the remote Tan Hill Inn with its "Family Feast" buckets of chicken and chips, reports the Daily Mirror.
Tracy Daly, licensee of the inn, said: "It beggars belief, I am dumbfounded. They are a multimillion-pound, international organisation and I am a little lady up a mountain." Tracy, who runs the pub near Richmond, North Yorks, with partner Mike Pearce, 60, received a letter from top London solicitors Freshfields warning them to drop the name. She added: "Our Family Feast is a traditional Christmas dinner - pate, turkey, roast beef and the trimmings, Christmas pud. It's about as similar to a KFC meal as chalk is to cheese. "Chicken and chips with a salad is on the menu, but we use local free-range birds - no coating, no secret spices."I don't like bullies and I think they want to bully me. They have turned heavy-duty, big-city lawyers loose on us, but I have already had firms of solicitors offering to take on our case for nothing."

*Recycle bins next to rubbish bins on the street.

Some great ideas come up on Global:Ideas:Bank. Well worth subscribing.

An idea from this week's batch:
If there were recycle bins for bottles and cans by the trash cans that are already found along city/town sidewalks, a huge amount of "waste" could easily be recycled and reused. Schools and airports do this; why hasn't it yet caught on in other widely used areas?


Here is a link to Sinead O'Shea's new film for Al Jazeera about the farmers in Mayo who are fighting Shell's plans to build a gas pipe over their land.

Sinead O'Shea is a filmmaker and journalist with Al Jazeera English.

Please forward the link to anyone who might be interested. It's now one of the most watched programmes on AlJazeera since the channel launched.
It's short but intense!

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

*Blair singing.

Check out Blair singing the Clash favourite, "Should I stay or should I go?

Your right to ride on the road is in jeopardy.

Please- sign up and circulate.
Your right to ride on the road is in jeopardy.
The revised Highway Code says cyclists should "use cycle facilities where possible". If this Code is approved, cyclists will effectively lose the right to ride on the road where there are alternative routes or adjacent facilities. The implications of this are too bad to contemplate. First cyclists will suffer more abuse and intimidating driving, as recently suffered by a CTC member. Second, if a cyclist is involved in an accident and tries to claim damages, the insurance companies are likely to argue that the rider contributed to the accident by not using the cycle facility.

The Highway Code has been laid before parliament. It will automatically be approved unless it is referred to a House of Commons Committee which cannot amend it and can only recommend the whole document be rejected.
It will take an unprecedented amount of adverse publicity to persuade the government to reject the Highway Code in its entirety.

It is interesting to note that 35 MP's objected to the original revised wording. If this Highway Code is approved by government cyclists will effectively lose the right to ride on the road where there are alternative routes or adjacent facilities. Please register your name on the petition and persuade others to do the same. <>

Thursday, 3 May 2007


BONO’s services to humanity – for which he received a knighthood from ER2@GB - reminds me of the time U2 were giving a concert in Glasgow.

The Great One asked for complete silence and started clicking his fingers every few seconds before saying: “Every time I click my fingers, a child in Africa dies”
A heavily accented Glasgow voice in the audience shouted out:
“Aye, well stop doing it then”

From the Malcolm Rogers column in this week's Irish Post.
By-the-way, Malcolm is a member of the Irish Green Party.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Leftie jokes

An old revolutionary walks across the Brooklyn Bridge one day, and he sees man of a similar age standing on the edge, about to jump. He runs over and says: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"I'm just so depressed, I've been a communist all my life and the revolution seems as far away as ever"

"You're a communist?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"I am as well!! Did you originally join the Communist Party USA?"


"Me too! Did you join the pro-Trotsky Communist League of America in 1928, which later merged with the American Workers Party to form the Workers Party of America in 1934?"


"Spooky, Me too! After the WPA was expelled from the Socialist Party of America in 1936 did you then go on to join the Socialist Workers Party USA and the Fourth International?"

"I did actually…"

"Me too! In the 1940 dispute did you side with Cannon or Shachtman?"


"Me too! In 1962 did you join Robertson's opposition caucus, the Revolutionary Tendency?"


" Holy shit! And of course like me you were expelled and went on to join the International Communist League (Spartacist)."

"Well ... that goes without saying!"

"In 1985 did you join the International Bolshevik Tendency who claimed that the Sparts have degenerated into an 'obedience cult'?"

"No way!"

"Nah, me neither. In 1998 did you join the Internationalist Group after the Permanent Revolution Faction were expelled from the ICL?"

"Yeah! I can't believe this! Maybe I won't ..."

"Die, counterrevolutionary scum!". And he pushes him off the edge.

[Stolen from Red Left Review]

Q: How many Bush Administration officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: None. There is nothing wrong with the light bulb; it's conditions are improving every day. Any reports of its lack of incandescence are delusional spin from the liberal media. That light bulb has served honorably, and anything you say undermines the lighting effect. Why do you hate freedom?



BY-THE-WAY, please e-mail me if you would like a copy of my paper 'Plastic Not Fantastic' published when I was a member of the London Assembly.


San Franciscan Greens last month succeeded in banning plastic bags
from their city's shops, whilst a town in Devon is today set to
follow the same course. (1)

All 43 traders and shopkeepers in Modbury will stop providing plastic bags to customers, giving out 100% biodegradable cornstarch bags,recyclable paper bags or reusable cotton and jute bags instead. The move comes as a result of a campaign run by a local woman who saw first hand the effects of plastic rubbish on marine life.

Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall today spoke out against plastic bags as an environmental menace:

"Plastic bags are widely recognised as an environmental menace, both as non-biodegradable waste and as a profligate form of oil
consumption. The UK needs to legislate to curb this most ubiquitous symbol of consumerist short-termism.

"The green movement globally is campaigning against them. Of the 100 billion bags disposed of in America each year under 5% are recycled, yet three weeks ago the Green Party representatives in San Francisco,led by Ross Mirkarimi,got “the bag” banned from the city.

"It is estimated that the San Franciscan ban alone will reduce oil
consumption by nearly 800,000 gallons per annum. Los Angeles, Santa Monica,Oakland and Berkeley are examining comparable policies, and
New York is said to be considering a tax or similar disincentive.
However, California, let alone the US as a whole, is not leading on this issue.

"Plastic bags are already prohibited in Rwanda, Bhutan, Bangladesh, South Africa (where the legislation threatens imprisonment for
violations) and Mumbai. Paris too has proposals for a ban in large stores by 2008, and the rest of France for 2010. Taiwan and Ireland have opted for the principle of “sale only” – i.e. all plastic bags must be purchased by the consumer,as a deterrent measure.

"The UK must join this growing trend which not only offers hope of
limiting the blight of plastic bags befouling our urban and rural
environments, especially our waterways where they are a particular
hazard to wildlife, but furthermore would assist in meeting the
imminent landfill crisis in waste management.

"Legislation encouraging the use of biodegradable alternatives, not made from fossil fuels,would be sensible, making it easier for all
of us to protect the planet."

To read Derek's blog on this issue "To avoid danger of suffocation", please see:

What is happening to the bees?
have a very good article on the subject. Excerpts below.

Rachel has also an interesting article on 'Fish-Killing Virus Spreading in the Great Lakes'

What is happening to the bees?
More than a quarter of the country's 2.4 million bee colonies have been lost -- tens of billions of bees, according to an estimate from the Apiary Inspectors of America, a national group that tracks beekeeping. So far, no one can say what is causing the bees to become disoriented and fail to return to their hives. As with any great mystery, a number of theories have been posed, and many seem to researchers to be more science fiction than science. People have blamed genetically modified crops, cellular phone towers and high-voltage transmission lines for the disappearances. Or was it a secret plot by Russia or Osama bin Laden to bring down American agriculture? Or, as some blogs have asserted, the rapture of the bees, in which God recalled them to heaven? Researchers have heard it all.

Of greatest interest are the "systemic" chemicals that are able to pass through a plant's circulatory system and move to the new leaves or the flowers, where they would come in contact with bees.
One such group of compounds is called neonicotinoids, commonly used pesticides that are used to treat corn and other seeds against pests. One of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, is commonly used in Europe and the United States to treat seeds, to protect residential foundations against termites and to help keep golf courses and home lawns green. In the late 1990s, French beekeepers reported large losses of their bees and complained about the use of imidacloprid, sold under the brand name Gaucho. The chemical, while not killing the bees outright,was causing them to be disoriented and stay away from their hives, leading them to die of exposure to the cold, French researchers later found. The beekeepers labelled the syndrome "mad bee disease."The French government banned the pesticide in 1999 for use on sunflowers, and later for corn, despite protests by the German chemical giant Bayer, which has said its internal research showed the pesticide was not toxic to bees. Subsequent studies by independent French researchers have disagreed with Bayer.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Devon town bans plastic bags.

Modbury is the quintessential small West Country town. Set in a hollow among rolling Devon hills just a few miles from the sea, it has 760 households, a high street, three churches, a primary school, several pubs, two takeaways, a surgery, a small supermarket and 40 or so small shops.
Not much happens in Modbury. Some say the last time the peace was disturbed was in 1643 when Roundheads and Cavaliers fought in its streets. But a revolution of another kind will take place on Monday. At 8am it will become the first plastic bag-free town in Europe.

Modbury is the quintessential small West Country town. Set in a hollow among rolling Devon hills just a few miles from the sea, it has 760 households, a high street, three churches, a primary school, several pubs, two takeaways, a surgery, a small supermarket and 40 or so small shops.
Not much happens in Modbury. Some say the last time the peace was disturbed was in 1643 when Roundheads and Cavaliers fought in its streets. But a revolution of another kind will take place on Monday. At 8am it will become the first plastic bag-free town in Europe.

Spurred by environmental fervour and growing concern about the 100bn or more plastic bags thought to be littering the world and clogging the seas, the town's 43 traders have unilaterally declared their independence from the plastic bag and have pledged to no longer sell, give away or otherwise provide them to anyone in Modbury for a minimum of six months.

See the full story:,,2067577,00.html



Protest oil dependency
Curb car culture - real rights for bikes
Celebrate body freedom

3pm Saturday 9 June
meet Hyde Park Corner
(just north of the Achilles statue next to Broad Walk, Hyde Park)

We are all naked before the car as we cycle the city streets, and what better way to make known our vulnerability than by taking part in this year's World Naked Bike Ride? Last year we had an unprecedented 850 plus riders enjoying the freedom of riding naked through central London. This year we anticipate well over 1,000 riders. Come and join us in this liberating ride to promote real rights for bikes and protest against our oil dependent car culture.

If you feel daunted by riding fully naked, then come as bare as you dare - no pressure will be put on anyone to uncover themselves more than they feel comfortable with. This is a very supportive ride and respectful of everyone no matter what age, shape or size. A perfect body is not required so come along and celebrate your body exactly as you are! And no, contrary to what many people ask, it doesn't hurt to ride naked!

This is a legal protest with police approval to ride naked on the route through central London, so the risk of arrest is extremely unlikely.

Please forward this email to people within your group and tell all your friends! If you can, let us know you are coming so we can have an accurate prediction of expected numbers.

The full route, plus photographs of last year's ride can be found at: